While the Railways’ drive against drunken passengers has hit a brick wall due to stiff opposition from the public, Railway Protection Force (RPF) officials are claiming that the number of crimes have increased by two-fold in the past few months.
The officials attribute the increase in the crimes to drunken travellers. “In nearly 80 per cent of the cases, the crimes perpetrated on trains, whether it be sexual assaults, passing of lewd comments or any other untoward advances, are caused by persons who are found to be in an inebriated state. Whenever the offender is taken in for questioning, he is usually drunk,” a highly placed RPF official said.
He added that a substantial number of people who die by falling from running trains come under the ‘drunk category’. The RPF drive against intoxicated passengers had helped reduce crimes. “It was a successful campaign. The number of crimes had reduced from an average hundred cases to less than fifty. The petitions filed in the High Court against the drive has dampened the initiative. Currently, we have been told by higher officials not to enforce it strictly,” the official said.Action is now taken only against those who misbehave, especially with women passengers. According to the officials, an average of 2-3 such cases are reported every.
“Such behaviour goes up on weekends,” an RPF officer said. She added that even though many men came out strongly against the drive, the move was welcomed by women passengers.
“We felt more safe and secure. Even though it is not completely possible to get rid off anti-social elements from trains, we were confident that advances against us would reduce. However, such checks by RPF have come to a stand still,” said Ranjini, an advocate.
Stephy, a passenger from Kozhikode recalled her experience with a drunk passenger. “I was sleeping when a drunk man approached me. I was told by a fellow passenger that he had come close to me and was hovering on my side. He then moved on to my friend and started harassing her. Nobody offered to help us,” she said.